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March 30, 2017

Bento Bako Weekly: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Publisher: Viz Media
Writer & Artist: Akira Himekawa
Volume: Vol 1 $9.99 SRP
Vintage: March 13, 2017
Genre: Fantasy

Once upon a time beings skilled in magic appeared to conquer the peaceful land of Hyrule.  The goddesses of Hyrule used their combined power to seal these wizards magic inside an artifact called the Shadow Crystal and banish the wizards into the Twilight Realm.  Time passed and the people of Hyrule forgot about the Twilight Realm.  After the death of the King of Twilight, his daughter Midna becomes the Twilight Princess sparking the anger of the king’s advisor Zant who usurps the throne.  Displaying tremendous magical power Zant easily overpowers Midna, forcing her into hiding.  Meanwhile, in Hyrule a young long-eared man named Link relishes his peaceful life in the Village of Ordon oblivious to the turmoil that he is about to face.

The creative duo, known collectively by the pen name Akira Himekawa, has spent over a decade breathing new life into the warrior of light known as Link through his various incarnations and adventures.  They’ve given him the voice that Nintendo never has.  Twilight Princess introduces a Link who has renounced his sword in a quest for a peaceful life.  Haunted by nightmares, he hides his past from the people of Ordon Village who have come to see him as a lovable helping hand.

The art of Twilight Princess is beautiful.  After reading several of Himekawa’s Zelda books I have to note the changes in art style from book to book.  Serious care is taken to have each Zelda story have it’s own look and feel and Himekawa somehow manages to completely nail the tone of the game in this manga iteration.  Both the realms of Hyrule and Twilight have distinctively different vibes in terms of shading and use of shadow and light.  Ordon Village is flawlessly depicted as a place of peace and hope with the denizens drawn with soft looks and highlights.  The monsters of the Twilight Realm are dark and grotesque and their presence on the page is rendered with dark tones and hard shadows to enhance their fearsome looks.

The majority of Twilight Princess is spent building the environment of Ordon Village and it’s people getting the reader invested in the world before tearing it apart with the invasion of the Twilight Realm monsters.  Having played every one since the original Nintendo, it often frustrated me that I never knew what Link was thinking.  The book spends a lot of time fleshing out Link as a character which I thought was great touch.  It should be noted that this is a fairly dark interpretation of The Twilight Princess.  It won’t scare you but the tension builds nicely by the book’s end and is a welcome change from the bright and sunny history of the franchise. Legend of Zelda The Twilight Princess is an incredible book within the legacy of Zelda and any fan of manga should own it whether you have a history with the games or not.

Eric Snell
esnell@comicattack.net

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